Short People Exercise, Too

I woke up this morning excited to do something I hadn’t done in months: go to the gym.

I always feel better after I go (because of these things called endorphins, I’m told. Crazy, right?), but I haven’t been able to lately because of schoolwork. I’m not an outside runner — never have and probably never will be. My stint with sports also was brief — my softball and basketball careers ended at the recreational/junior varsity level (I was always more interested in the social aspect, anyway), and I dabbled in dance, gymnastics and tennis before deciding none was quite right for me.

That leaves the gym, which I love more than I ever loved running the bases. I get my CNN/ESPN on while I run for half an hour (or, to be more correct, walk with high resistance), and then I venture to the exercise machines, where I spend another half hour working out to the combined sound of music from my iPod and in the background.

I realized something today, though. As much as I love the gym, it’s just not designed for people my height.

I adjusted the seat on one of the arms machines to the highest level and the weight to 20 pounds (I definitely don’t and never will have the muscle to lift 80 pounds, unlike the previous user) before sitting down, only to find I couldn’t reach the levers I was supposed to pull. It seems like a minute problem, one that could perhaps be forgotten, but then I looked around. Though I was one of the shortest people there, I don’t think I was the shortest. And though I am only 5 feet 3 inches tall, I’m not midget-status, and I know plenty of people who are as short or shorter than me. Is this something that’s been addressed before? Are the makers of these machines aware?

This isn’t a problem for all gym equipment, of course. The ellipses work fine, and stations that don’t require any sitting or pulling are efficient as well. I just wish the companies that make these machines would consider adjusting the machines’ dimensions to make them a bit more universal for people of different statures. After all, you don’t have to be 6-foot-2 to be athletic and like to exercise!

3 thoughts on “Short People Exercise, Too

  • I feel the same…. I am an inch shorter. I love the gym so much but I cannot use half the machines because I don’t fit right and I don’t want to hurt anything.

    • Sarah stein

      I am only 4’10 ‘ tall and wonder if a Treadclimber would work for me since many machines do not. Any ideas about this? The people who answer their phones have no idea what I am even talking about.

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